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Bank offers £15m lending pot for social landlords to create warmer homes and greener communities

A bank has created a £15 million lending pot for social landlords looking to make their properties more energy efficient and tackle fuel poverty.

“The problem for small-medium housing providers is that investments are focussed on new developments, often at the expense of making vital improvements to homes – for both future and current tenants,” said Neil Hewitt, a relationship manager at Triodos Bank, which has created the fund.

“Even if housing providers show good financial track records, lenders have traditionally only been able to finance loans by taking security. Also with an emphasis on increasing housing density this comes at the expense of the development of green community spaces for and peoples well-being.”

Alongside the financial challenges in the housing crisis such as heating homes, many developments lack community spaces and areas of natural habitats, which are formally recognised as having a direct benefit in supporting mental and physical wellbeing.

According to Kevin McCloud, broadcaster and director of HAB Housing, creating lower impact homes and communities are essential to ensuring that living standards are raised.

“Any housing development needs to consider the impact it will have on people and the planet,” he said. “While tackling the housing crisis with increased numbers, we need to be building homes that are not only cost effective for the people who live there but that also offer wider environmental and aesthetic benefits, with amenity spaces that people are proud to live in. Innovative solutions, including access to finance from banks like Warmer Homes and the Greener Community loan from Triodos, is to be encouraged.”

Bevis Watts, managing director of Triodos Bank UK, added: “We believe banks should be thinking about the long-term needs of society and working in partnership to develop finance initiatives that address the real challenges we face, like climate change, fuel poverty, lack of affordable housing and many more.  We hope this is an example of how finance can work for good. Banks use your money and we should all be examining whether they do so in our own interests.”

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